How Does Sound Therapy Help My Tinnitus?
Key Concepts of Sound Therapy:
- The sound must be relaxing and pleasing to the listener
- The sound should be non-significant (nature sounds or white noise)—music with or without vocals has a pattern that tends to draw the brain’s attention which prevents habituation
- The sound must be played a volume level softer than the tinnitus—the brain cannot habituate to something it cannot hear
Sound therapy is used in all tinnitus management strategies to help habituate our brains to the presence of tinnitus. When tinnitus becomes noticeable and annoying, our brains tend to perseverate on the sound and pushes us into fight or flight mode, which ultimately makes our tinnitus more bothersome and heightens the fight or flight response further. This cycle often continues into a downward spiral. One of the best ways to stop the cycle is to teach our brain the tinnitus is non-threatening. For example, if you moved into a new house that backs up to the railroad tracks, your first few nights of sleep are going to be interrupted whenever the train passes. With more exposure, eventually your brain learns to habituate to or tune-out the train and your able to get a full night’s worth of sleep. Sound therapy works in a similar way. By providing a relaxing sound at a volume softer than the tinnitus, the brain learns to focus less on the tinnitus and begins to relax. Eventually, your brain no longer relies on the sound therapy to relax away from the tinnitus and is able to do it on its own. This process takes time, patience, and dedication but provides relief to many tinnitus patients.
If you have questions about sound therapy and other tinnitus management strategies, contact our office to schedule an evaluation.